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Homegrown Heroes: An Update On the CSRA’s Best Ballers Who Are Playing in College

An update on nearly 50 college players who played their high school basketball in our area.

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Ahmed Hill (Aquinas ’14) – Virginia Tech

I counted nearly 50 men who recently played high school hoops in our wide area who are now playing college basketball. In the summary below I listed their basic information like class, school, team records and rankings (when applicable), season statistics, upcoming game information and notable recent performances for the top performers:

Senior Ahmed Hill (Aquinas ’14)

#10 Virginia Tech (ACC: 15-3, 4-2)

2018-19 Stats: 13 ppg, 3 rpg, 33 mpg; 46% FG, 43% 3pt FG, 91% FT

– Scored 20 points (4-7 3 pt) in Monday’s 103-82 loss to North Carolina

Next: vs Syracuse Saturday at 8:00

Senior Malik Dunbar (North Augusta/ Spring Valley ’15)

#16 Auburn (SEC: 13-5, 2-3)

2018-19 Stats: 9 ppg, 4 rpg, 18 mpg; 49% FG, 38% 3 pt FG

– Scored 12 points in last Saturday’s 87-71 win over Wake Forest

Next: at Mississippi State Saturday at 7:30

Junior Christian Keeling (Laney ’16)

Charleston Southern (Big South: 7-10, 1-3)

2018-19 Stats: 19 ppg, 6 rpg, 4 apg, 32 mpg; 42% FG, 35% 3 pt FG, 83% FT

– Scored 19 points (5-11 3 pt) in Saturday’s 73-72 loss to Campbell

Next: at Radford Thursday at 7:30

Junior Daniel Carr (Midland Valley ’16)

#9 (DII) Queens (Southern Athletic Conference): 17-2, 9-0)

2018-19 Stats: 17 ppg, 5 apg, 4 rpg; 46% FG, 45% 3pt, 82% FT

– Scored 19 points, dished 6 assists and grabbed 6 rebounds in Saturday’s 98-69 win over Mars Hill

Next: vs Wingate tonight at 8:00

Senior Reggie Reid (Harlem ’15)

#25 (DII) Texas A&M Commerce (Lone Star Athletic Conference: 14-3, 6-1)

 

2018-19 Stats: 16 ppg, 5 apg, 5 rpg; 41% FG, 31% 3 pt FG, 74% FT

– Scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in recent 112-99 win over Eastern New Mexico

Next: vs Western New Mexico Thursday 6:30 ET

Junior Darius Williams (Josey ’15)

Prairie View A&M (Southwestern Athletic Conference: 7-11, 5-0)

2018-19 Stats: 10 ppg, 3 rpg, 21 mpg

Next: at Mississippi Valley State Saturday at 3:30 ET

Junior Ja’Shawn Brooks (Laney ’15)

Mars Hill (South Athletic Conference: 7-9, 2-7)

2018-19 Stats: 21 ppg, 7 rpg, 3 apg; 48% FG, 49% 3 pt FG, 94% FT

– Tallied 20 points and 5 rebounds in Monday’s 87-66 win over Coker

Next: vs Newberry Saturday at 4:00

Junior Jaquez Smith (North Augusta ’16)

Francis Marion (Peach Belt Conference: 12-2, 8-1)

2018-19 Stats: 12 ppg, 4 apg, 29 mpg; 40% FG, 35% 3 pt FG

– Posted 17 points and 4 assists in a recent 72-69 win over Georgia Southwestern

Next: vs Augusta tonight at 7:30

Freshman Zep Jasper (Laney ’16)

College of Charleston (Colonial Athletic Association: 14-6, 3-4)

2018-19 Stats: 6 ppg, 2 rpg, 27 mpg; 37% FG, 33% 3 pt FG, 77% FT

Next: vs Elon Thursday at 7:00

Freshman Tre Gomillion (Aquinas ’18)

Gordon State (NJCAA Region 17: 11-7, 5-1)

2018-19 Stats: 14 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg; 63% FG, 50% 3 pt FG

– Scored 14 points and made a game winning 25 footer in a 79-77 win over Andrew College last Wednesday

Next: vs South Georgia Tech Saturday at 3:00

Senior TJ Sheppard (North Augusta ’13)

Limestone (Conference Carolinas: 10-8, 4-4)

2018-19 Stats: 15 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg; 45% FG, 38% 3 pt FG, 78% FT

– Scored 20 points on 7-11 FG in Saturday’s 93-82 win over Southern Wesleyan

Next: vs Mount Olive tonight at 7:30

Freshman Kevin Williamson (Aiken ’18)

USC Salkehatchie (NJCAA Region 10: 12-6, 3-0)

2018-19 Stats: 12 ppg, 5 rpg; 43% FG, 82% FT

– Scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in last Wednesday’s 107-101 win over Brunswick

Next: at Denmark Tech tonight at 7:00

Sophomore San Antonio Brinson (Thomson ’16)

NJIT (Atlantic Sun Conference: 15-5, 3-2)

2018-19 Stats: 7 ppg, 5 rpg, 20 mpg

Next: vs Stetson Sunday at 4:00

Junior Marques Sumner (Fox Creek/North Augusta ’15)

Stetson (Atlantic Sun Conference: 4-16, 0-5)

2018-19 Stats: 8 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg, 24 mpg

Next: vs NJIT Sunday at 4:00

Senior Jaylen Taylor (Laney ’15)

Clayton State (Peach Belt Conference: 5-10, 2-7)

2018-19 Stats: 13 ppg, 7 rpg; 53% FG

– Scored 21 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in last Saturday’s 97-93 loss at USC Aiken

Next: at North Georgia tonight at 7:30

Senior Aubrey McRae (Glenn Hills ’14)

Clayton State (Peach Belt Conference: 5-10, 2-7)

2018-19 Stats: 14 ppg, 6 rpg; 39% FG, 35% 3 pt FG, 85% FT

– Scored 23 points in Saturday’s 97-93 loss at USC Aiken

Next: at North Georgia tonight at 7:30

Freshman Drez McBride (Butler ’18)

McCook Community College (NJCAA Region 9: 7-10, 0-2)

2018-19 Stats: 13 ppg, 4 rpg, 2 apg; 45% FG, 35% 3 pt FG, 79% FT

– In previous 2 games Drez scored 20 points in a 123-86 loss to Western Nebraska and 19 in an 83-59 loss to Trinidad State

Next: at Northeastern Friday at 9:30

Sophomore Deandre Barton (Butler ’17)

Southeastern Community College (NJCAA Region 11: 17-3, 3-0)

2018-19 Stats: 8 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg; 43% FG, 77% FT

– Scored 15 points in Saturday’s 77-74 win over Marshalltown and 21 in last Wednesday’s 95-88 victory over Northeast

Next: at Indian Hills tonight at 8:00

Senior Christian Davis (North Augusta ’14)

Truett McConnell (NAIA: 11-9, 6-8)

2018-19 Stats: 16 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg; 41% FG, 40% 3 pt FG

Next: vs Montreat tonight at 7:30

Freshman Ahmad Rand (Lincoln County ’17)

USC Salkehatchie (NJCAA Region 10: 12-6, 3-0)

2018-19 Stats: 10 ppg, 8 rpg; 66% FG

Next: at Denmark Tech tonight at 7:00

 

Freshman Bryson Mozone (North Augusta ’18)

Upstate (Big South: 5-16, 0-6)

2018-19 Stats: 5 ppg, 3 rpg, 16 mpg

 

Next: at Hampton Thursday at 7:00
 

Sophomore Jelani Watson-Gayle (Westminster ’17)

Miles College (SIAC: 11-6, 8-2)

2018-19 Stats: 9 ppg, 3 rpg, 28 mpg

 

Next: at Tuskegee Saturday at 3:00
 

Freshman Eric Graham (Grovetown ’18)

Columbia International (NAIA: 11-9, 6-8)

2018-19 Stats: 10 ppg, 4 rpg, 22 mpg; 43% FG, 40% 3 pt FG, 77% FT

– Scored 17 points in a recent 78-73 win over Truett McConnell

 

Sophomore John Williams (Josey ’17)

Barton (NJCAA Region 6: 15-3, 6-3)

2018-19 Stats: 10 ppg, 4 rpg; 44% FG, 71% FT

 

Next: at Northwest Kansas State tonight at 9:30 ET
 

Sophomore DT Turman (Thomson ’17)

Cleveland State Community College (NJCAA Region 7: 7-9, 4-5)

2018-19 Stats: 9 ppg, 4 rpg, 54% FG

 

– Scored 13 points and grabbed 6 rebounds last Wednesday in a 78-77 win over Walters State

 

Next: vs Jackson State Friday at 7:30
 

Freshman Tez Collins (North Augusta ’18)

USC Salkehatchie (NJCAA Region 10: 12-6, 3-0)

2018-19 Stats: 7 ppg, 4 rpg; 51% FG, 41% 3 pt FG, 73% FT

 

Next: at Denmark Tech tonight at 7:00
 

Sophomore Moses Jones (Cross Creek ’16)

Andrew College (NJCAA Region 17: 14-4, 3-2)

2018-19 Stats: 9 ppg, 2 rpg; 42% FG, 37% 3 pt FG, 86% FT

 

– Scored 13 points in Saturday’s 79-75 loss at East Georgia and 13 in last Wednesday’s 79-77 loss to Gordon State

Next: vs Central Georgia Tech tonight at 7:30

Senior Jordan Dingle (South Aiken/Augusta Christian ’14)

Lander (Peach Belt Conference: 6-11, 5-6)

2018-19 Stats: 8 ppg, 3 rpg, 19 mpg

Next: at USC Aiken Saturday at 3:30

More players:

Junior Ricquail Smoot (Butler ’16) – Hampton
Junior Trez Hawes (Westside ’16) – Arkansas-Monticello
Junior Justen Hartfield (Greenbrier ’16) – Mars Hill
Freshman Timmy Sellers (Glenn Hills ’18) – Charleston Southern
Melvin Mckie (South Aiken ’18) – USC Aiken
Freshman Antonio Bussey (Aiken ’18) – Claflin
Freshman Justin Phillips (Westside ’17) – Gordon State
Sophomore Rod Culver (Fox Creek ’17) – USC Salkehatchie
Sophomore Colin Young (Laney/Miller Grove ’16) – USC Salkehatchie
Freshman Calvin Mathis (Aiken ’18) – USC Salkehatchie
Freshman Tim Williamson (Glenn Hills ’18) – Andrew College
Freshman Javen Whitehead (Josey ’17) – Andrew College
Freshman Zach Foster (Midland Valley ’18) – Andrew College
Freshman Keith Littles (Butler ’18) – Andrew College
Senior George Jones (Glenn Hills) – Paine

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Augusta Moves Up to #16 After a Hot Start Despite Limited Play

Even with limited opportunities to take the floor and show off its high-powered lineup, the Jaguars are seizing each moment.

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To state the obvious, this is not a normal season in college basketball. Usually by this time, Augusta would have played 9 or 10 games and be into Peach Belt Conference play. Because of cancellations the last two Wednesdays and another this Sunday, the Jaguars might enter January sporting an undefeated record, but after only playing two games. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that even with limited opportunities to take the floor and show off its high powered lineup, the Jaguars are seizing each moment. Augusta’s two wins, both at home, have been double digit victories against stiff competition. Last Saturday’s 97-83 triumph came against an Emmanuel squad that was chosen by the Conference Carolinas coaches to win its league in their preseason poll. And Lander, who Augusta topped 87-72 on December 2, won the Peach Belt Conference tournament championship last season after finishing third in the regular-season standings (Augusta finished second in the regular season with a 16-4 league record.)

Augusta Moves Up in the National Rankings

The voters for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) NCAA Division II top 25 poll have taken notice by ranking Augusta #16 in the nation in the week-two installment, seven spots higher than in the week-one edition. Like the college basketball schedule, the NABC rankings are anything but normal. Ten of the top 25 ranked teams have yet to play a game, making it easy to understand why Augusta is moving up the ladder quickly with its pair of impressive wins.

Arnold, Crawford and Lucas-White Look Sharp Early

During Augusta’s two victories, the veteran heavy squad has looked to be in mid season form, whether it be their shooting from the field, or their dominance in the paint. Three players in particular have produced eye popping statistics in the small sampling of action so far:

Miguel Arnold

The 5-11 junior guard has scored 41 points in two games while shooting 55% from the field, making 7 of 14 three point attempts and dishing out 9 assists.

Tyshaun Crawford

The 7-1 junior, who was voted preseason first team all conference by the Peach Belt coaches, has scored 39 points while making 15 of 19 field goals. Crawford also grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked 6 shots combined in the two games. He has also made 9 of 13 free throws, a marked improvement over last season.

Crawford’s fast start was noted in the NCAA’s recent account of its “all stats team”:

Darren Lucas-White

Lucas-White has stuffed the stat sheet from every angle during Augusta’s first two games, logging 40 points (73% FG), 13 rebounds, 8 steals and 6 assists. But Lucas White’s most exciting action might have been the one shown in the first clip of this video, which didn’t show up in the stat sheet. Watch below to see Darren hit the floor twice in one defensive possession during a second half stretch against Lander in which he completely changed the game with an exceptional display of effort and will:

In the post game interview below, recorded after Augusta’s latest win, head coach Dip Metress talked extensively about Augusta’s hot shooting and about Arnold, Crawford, and Lucas-White, as well as other impact making Jaguars. The video also includes a post game interview with Arnold and several clips from the win over Emmanuel:

From Augusta’s December 2 win over Lander, in which the Jaguars outscored the Bearcats 59-29 in the second half to turn a 15-point halftime deficit into a 15-point victory, below is the game’s video summary:

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Gators Throw Away Playoffs with Bonehead Penalty for the Ages

Costing his team a chance at the CFP, Gators defensive back commits what may go down as one of the dumbest penalties in sports history.

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On Saturday, Florida Gators cornerback Marco Wilson, a third-year legacy player who’s widely regarded as the Gators’ best defensive back, committed what may go down as one of the dumbest penalties in sports history.

On 3rd and 10 with exactly 2:00 remaining in the 4th quarter, the Gators defense stuffed LSU TE Kole Taylor short of the line to gain. After setting up a punt to their offense, led by Heisman-trophy front runner Kyle Trask, the Gators’ celebration was cut short as Wilson inexplicably ripped off the LSU player’s cleat and threw it downfield. 

After a momentary pause by the referees, who probably had to do double-takes in the dense Gainesville fog, the penalty flags rained down like so many alligator tears. The unsportsmanlike play gave LSU a first down, and set up a 57-yard field goal by Cade York with 23 seconds left in the game. Although Trask and the Gators would put together a few chunk plays on the subsequent drive to set up their own 50+ yard field goal attempt to tie the game, Evan McPherson’s kick skirted outside the left upright, ending the game, and probably Florida’s shot at the College Football Playoff. 

Social media reactions were merciless with many bringing up Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore’s infamous “dog-pee” celebration from the 2019 Egg Bowl. In that game, Moore’s unsportsmanlike penalty after a last-second touchdown resulted in the extra-point being moved back 15 yards. In a mystical display of instant karma, the Rebels would miss the kick and lose the game by one point. Fun fact: Wilson and Moore hail from the same hometown of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore committing the “dog-pee” penalty that cost his team the game.

Even former Gator greats were beside themselves as they joined the social media pile on:

The year started with Marco Wilson announcing his return to Gainesville for a third season. After starting as a true freshman and suffering an ACL tear early in his sophomore year, Wilson had contemplated joining the NFL draft. The decision to return for a chance at a championship looked like a great gamble for most of the year. But after being beaten repeatedly by LSU receivers on Saturday and then committing the horrible penalty that may cost his team a playoff berth, Wilson’s decision may turn out to be more ironic than heroic.

The Gators now turn their attention to next weekend’s SEC Championship Game against Alabama. It’s hard to imagine the Gators bringing the same energy into that game knowing that a win will likely still leave them short of the ultimate prize, a chance at the school’s fourth national championship.

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